Hersheypark expands with new coaster and entrance plaza

October 3, 2018, 11:08 AM · Visitors to Hersheypark will enter the park through new "Hershey's Chocolatetown" plaza in 2020, as part of a $150 million, 23-acre expansion announced by the Pennsylvania theme park today.

Hershey's Chocolatetown
Concept art courtesy Hersheypark

The entrance plaza will stand in between the current park entry pathway and the separately ticketed Hershey's Chocolate World attraction. The plaza will include a flagship Hershey's retail store, an ice cream parlor and confectionary kitchen, the largest kettle corn location in the park, and the largest restaurant, bar and patio in the park.

Inside the gates, fans will encounter the track to the park's 15th coaster, which Hersheypark bills as its "longest, tallest and fastest to date." The park will announce more details about that project next summer. In the middle of that coaster will stand the Kisses Fountain, which will be just steps away from the new home of the park's soon-to-be-100-year-old Carrousel.

Kisses Fountain

Let's take a virtual tour of the new plaza and attractions:

The $150 million investment will be the largest capital investment in Hershey Entertainment & Resorts' history.

"We are incredibly excited to enter this next chapter in the rich history of Hersheypark," John Lawn, president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts [HE&R], said. "This will be a definitive project for Hersheypark, HE&R and our destination."

The park previously announced a redesign of the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge shooter ride into Reese's Cupfusion for its 2019 season, in which riders must protect the source of energy for the Reese's factory from the League of Misfit Candy. Construction on the new Hershey's Chocolatetown project will begin in January and continue through 2019.

Replies (27)

October 3, 2018 at 11:26 AM

Clearly the coaster is a B&M hyper/giga, which seems really unnecessary given Hersheypark's current lineup. The park already has too much overlap of their coaster styles, yet is deciding to duplicate the experience of Thighcrush, I mean Skyrush, albeit a new B&M hyper/giga will far outpace the popularity of the highly flawed Intamin installation.

October 3, 2018 at 11:35 AM

It's hard to tell how this is actually going to look because the video just shows the new entrance and a B&M hyper in the middle of a giant open field. Hopefully when its built it has a bit more character to it.

I am glad they stuck with the traditional Hershey PA look with the brown brick buildings. In my opinion Carowinds totally ruined their entrance when they tried to do something similar, they just totally gutted an area that looked really nice and made it look like Walmart.

October 3, 2018 at 11:54 AM

Hmm. How is this $150 million? The coaster couldn’t cost more than $20 million by itself. I wonder if the land purchase (former golf course), road relocation, demolition, and temporary entrance for 2019 is taken into this figure... otherwise, they’re over-paying.

October 3, 2018 at 12:05 PM

Those buildings at the new entrance look pretty much like every shopping mall I've ever visited. They couldn't find some way to better theme them? Then again, most brick and mortar shopping malls are going to be out of business in the near future anyway. So Hershey Park will eventually be unique.

October 3, 2018 at 12:09 PM

Those food locations are right at the entrance of the park. You have to backtrack to get the best ice cream or kettle corn in the park. The roller coaster at the entrance is a bit much. It will be loud and possibly obnoxious. The "separately ticketed" Hershey's Chocolate World attraction? Should be part of the entrance fee.

October 3, 2018 at 12:24 PM

"Those food locations are right at the entrance of the park. You have to backtrack to get the best ice cream or kettle corn in the park."

It's no different than it is now. From what I can tell, it appears that they are moving the entrance back and up the hill towards Chocolate World. Chocolate World is already in place, and has dining and retail locations in addition to the free dark ride and other upcharge attractions. Chocolate World appears to be expanding slightly, but most of the new additions will be placed on the other side of the new entrance plaza. That will take some of the pressure off the current Chocolate World facility and make Chocolate World a more appealing mid-day destination for park goers.

I would have thought the same about the coaster noise, but Sea World has made it work with Mako (its ending swoops right across a main walking path, and doesn't disrupt things too much), and nearby Dorney Park has a B&M coaster that is practically silent aside from the screams of the riders (Talon) due to vibration-muffling sand in the supports that was needed because of local sound restrictions. Hersheypark is only emulating what other parks have been able to do successfully, though I would question the need for another hyper coaster.

Perhaps you should understand a bit about a theme park before you start spouting off criticism Anton. I know you like to visit theme parks via your computer screen, but if you had ever been to Hersheypark in your life, you would understand this new entrance makes a lot of sense.

October 3, 2018 at 12:27 PM

Anton...Chocolate World is free for everyone. It's basically just a large store with one ride showing the process of chocolate manufacturing (which is a great ride for being free!).

October 3, 2018 at 12:33 PM

I adore the Kisses Fountain design. It's simple, but beautiful and offers amazing branding. It should become the new icon for the park.

October 3, 2018 at 3:53 PM

For those who don't know, Chocolate World is not owned by Hersheypark. The Hershey Company owns that. The theme park is owned by Hershey Parks and Entertainment.

This new area and entrance will be much nicer and easier to get in to the park.

October 3, 2018 at 1:38 PM

This is a step in the right direction but it's going to need a lot more to even get close to its potential. We visited for the first time back in June and all I could think was "missed opportunity". Hershey's and its brands are some of America's most iconic yet they're underutilized. TBH Chocolate World and its dark ride/tour was the highlight of our day.

October 3, 2018 at 2:55 PM

“Perhaps you should understand a bit about a theme park before you start spouting off criticism Anton.”

So if I say something nice, it gets past the Russell censors. All you suggested is “get over it.”

“It’s no different than it is now.” So stop complaining?

I visited more than a few actual parks. Oh yes, you’re the fake engineer.

October 3, 2018 at 3:09 PM

Well Anton, you have a habit of posting comments not based in reality, and are back again making statements about a theme park you've obviously never visited, and probably will never see in person. So, why bother saying anything, particularly something containing false information? You're just making yourself look stupid. I mean, even if you don't know anything about the topic, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to at least gain a little bit of understanding before commenting on something you clearly know nothing about.

October 3, 2018 at 3:16 PM

Nothing I wrote is false. You disagree with it and attacked it with a sledgehammer from a exaggerated fake engineer as your credentials. You had the nerve to say a roller coaster isn't loud when it isn't opened yet. You really don't know. The article said "separately ticketed" so why should I dispute that? Did Robert know he posted fake news?

October 3, 2018 at 3:31 PM

"The article said "separately ticketed" so why should I dispute that?"

I didn't catch that on my initial read of the article, and apologize for attributing that to you. I should have directed the correction to Robert as it should be noted that there is no ticket needed to enter Chocolate World. I suppose one could also argue that it is "separately ticketed" in that a ticket to Hersheypark does not grant access to any of the Chocolate World upcharge ticketed attractions, and that the two facilities are operated by different entities as highlighted by haussie.

October 3, 2018 at 6:04 PM

If you want to experience the entirety (or even the majority) of Hershey’s Chocolate World, you need paid admission that is separate from Hersheypark. Spend 10 minutes at the Chocolate World entrance and count the number of people arguing that their Hersheypark ticket should get them in there, too. I stand by the description.

October 3, 2018 at 7:06 PM

I think adding a hypercoaster works if you look at Skyrush as a sunk cost, which at this point it basically is. It's perhaps the most frustrating roller coaster I have ever been on, a ride that should be a no doubt about it world class coaster that is so badly dampened by its intensely painful restraints that it's virtually unrideable. A B&M hyper/giga will, as Russell mentioned, almost certainly prove to be a more populist ride that, combined with the new entrance plaza and what appears to be a chocolate theme, will serve as a legitimate icon for the park in a way Skyrush can't.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Skyrush removed within the next few years.

October 3, 2018 at 7:17 PM

Let me jump into this pointless argument. I also disagree with the "separately ticketed" description. There's only one attraction in it that would typically be considered a park attraction, and that's completely free. Otherwise,its primarily a retail store. There are other upsell attractions like tastings and candy designing one could buy "tickets" to, but these would all clearly be upsell charges even if they were included in any there park. It's like the small scale version of calling Disney Springs a separate gate.

October 4, 2018 at 12:23 AM

This is a great addition to Hershey Park. Anything that highlights and expands the presence of the Hershey brand inside the park while building character and differentiation from other regional parks in PA is a step in the right direction. Give me more Hershey in Hershey Park!

October 4, 2018 at 9:58 AM

I can't agree with that Robert...By saying "separately ticketed", you give the impression that guests have to pay just to enter the building, just like they would have to pay to enter Hersheypark. That's simply not the case. In fact, guests can even park for free (up to 3 hours) when visiting Chocolate World.

Chocolate World is more like a free admission museum that has upcharge attractions (like a science museum with an IMAX theater, planetarium, and/or motion simulators). The central attractions of Chocolate World (Chocolate Tour dark ride, retail store, and eateries) are completely free to enter. Chocolate World does have additional attractions that are separately ticketed (Create Your Own Candy Bar, 4D Chocolate Movie, Chocolate Tasting Experience, Trolley Works, and Photo Studio), but those are peripheral to the main attractions of the complex (dark ride and gift shop). It would be like saying the Mall of America is a separately ticketed attraction from Nickelodeon Universe (or vice versa), even though no ticket is required to walk around either the mall or the theme park (tickets are required for the upcharge attractions in the mall like the VR arcade and go cart track, as well as the individual rides in Nickelodeon Universe).

I think it would be more accurate and clear to state that Chocolate World is independent of Hersheypark, and contains some separately ticketed, and frankly overpriced, attractions.

October 4, 2018 at 10:55 AM

I don't know what Russell is talking about when he refers to overlapping coaster styles. The only overlap I see is that the 3 big ones are Intamins, but they are otherwise different in style. Obviously, Skyrush is a hypercoaster with wing seats, Storm Runner is a launched coaster and Fahrenheit is a coaster with a vertical chain lift. The others don't resemble these or anything else in the park. As to Skyrush, I completely agree with evanweston that it would be a world class coaster were it not for the restraints. Clearly, the intensity of the ride demands tight restraints but on this one I believe that OTS restraints would have been a better choice than thigh-crushing restraints which allow for totally unrestricted movement of the torso. Despite that there are those who love Skyrush. I came across something on the web about a ride tester at Thorpe Park who's ridden 840 coasters and ranks Skyrush as #1.

At any rate, the new additions to Hershey look great and I'm thrilled to hear that there will be an ice cream parlor open year round. (I usually go to Hershey at the end of October - probably not this year b/c I'm going to Kings Island for a final ride on Firehawk - and am disappointed to find the ice cream concessions closed.) A B&M hyper or giga will at least be a good option for those who like to go big without getting beaten up in the process.

October 4, 2018 at 11:45 AM

"I don't know what Russell is talking about when he refers to overlapping coaster styles."

There are 2 GCI woodies, technically 3 (Wildcat and 2 different tracks on Lightning Racer). Add Comet to that mix, and that's a lot of woodies for one park. Also, not to say that they shouldn't have added the Millennium Flier trains to Wildcat, but by doing so, they eliminated the differentiation between the park's first GCI and Lightning Racer.

There are 2 wild mouse coasters (Laff Trakk and Wild Mouse). I'll grant you that one is an indoor spinning wild mouse while the other is a standard outdoor wild mouse, but does a park really need both of these?

Skyrush is a hyper, which would overlap with a B&M hyper (I'm doubting that the park will be able to go over 300 feet). While the B&M looks to be more of a down and back airtime machine, compared to the more twisting layout of Skyrush, how many parks have 2 hypercoasters in their collection?

There's a lot of overlap between Fahrenheit and Storm Runner. While the way each coaster gets to its highest point is a bit different, the experiences after that are very similar with identical restraints and seating positions.

So, a park that will boast as having 14 coasters, really only has 10, and that assumes you consider Comet different enough from the GCI woodies, which I would.

Look at other coaster parks around the country, and you won't see anywhere near the overlap of coaster styles that Hersheypark has. Other parks may have coasters by the same manufacturer, but they have different riding positions or different restraints. Hersheypark has too many coasters that are too similar to each other, diluting their already mediocre collection.

October 4, 2018 at 12:34 PM

Russell, now that you mention it, offhand I can't think of any park that has two hypers. At least not any that I've visited. I disagree, however, that there's a lot of overlap between Fahrenheit and Storm Runner. To me they offer entirely different ride experiences. The launch and flying snake dive - probably my favorite inversion after a heartline roll - differentiate it from Fahrenheit, as do the restraints. Storm Runner has the same style of restraint, true, but the restraints on that one are soft and the last I heard Fahrenheit had hard restraints. Yes, the park does have several woodies but Lightning Racer is miles away from Wildcat in ride experience. Finally, I consider the collection of coasters at Hershey far from mediocre. Lightning Racer, one of the least extreme, is far superior to any other racing coaster I've ridden.

October 4, 2018 at 1:43 PM

I guess we'll agree to disagree Bobbie. There is some differentiation between Fahrenheit ad Storm Runner, but after the lift/launch, they're both just sit-down loopers with OTSRs. I agree that Storm Runner's inversions are far more unconventional, but that begs the question as to why the park felt the need to build Fahrenheit.

I would also agree that the experiences on Lightning Racer and Wildcat are different, but are they different enough, especially less than 500 feet from each other with another woodie that's quite different on the other side of the park?

If you count giga-coasters as just big hypercoasters, there are a few parks that have 2 (Cedar Point, Carowinds, and Canada's Wonderland), but those are far enough apart within their respective parks and there's enough coasters of differing styles present in those parks to excuse the slight overlap. From what I can tell, the tracks of Skyrush and the new B&M will be almost right next to each other with stations that are less than 500 feet apart. As with Lightning Racer and Wildcat, I think the B&M will offer a slightly different experience from Skyrush, but why not try something new? Why not a wing coaster, or a flying coaster, or a 4-D coaster, or an RMC? With so much coaster style overlap already in the park, why double down on hypercoasters?

As far as mediocre, I stand by that comment. Aside from Lightning Racer, not a single coaster at Hersheypark is even top 5 of its own style. Great Bear is the worst B&M invert in the US. Skyrush is the most painful hypercoaster on the planet. Farhenheit is on par with stock model vertical lift/beyond vertical drop coasters. Comet pales in comparison to most other classic northeastern woodies. Trailblazer is one of the worst mine train coasters in the US, and is the only one I can think of that doesn't even have an MCBR. Sooperdooperlooper isn't even a particularly great Schwarzkopf, and is more nostalgic as most kids' first upside down roller coaster than something worth waiting more than 5 minutes to ride. On paper, Hersheypark is a coaster credit counter's dream, but not a one (save for maybe Lightning Racer) is considered great. Pretty much every coaster park has at least one coaster that's worth going to the park by itself. For me, there's not a single coaster that validates a drive to Hersheypark (particularly with superior coasters of similar types in the Philly region at Dorney Park or SFGAdv), which is why we only visit every 3-4 years when there a a couple of new attractions to try. Hersheypark's coaster collection is the definition of "meh".

October 4, 2018 at 2:47 PM

I indeed DO have the greatest difficulties to understand where the 150M figure is coming from...
I aggree on what "174.60.169.88" was saying (higher up here)
To me, the BIG number feels like being Barnum style (fake) marketing, or ... an attempt to introduce investment fraud.....
..if just, it was not a press release error ??
NOT good at all.

October 5, 2018 at 1:13 AM

This is probably too late for you to see it, Russell, but in running down Hersheypark's coasters you did not for whatever reason mention Storm Runner, probably the best Intamin accelerator ever made and a top 10 roller coaster in the United States. Lightning Racer is also a coaster I'd go out of my way for; I have it as the best woodie in Pennsylvania, not an easy title to come by in the least.

I'd also disagree about the overlap, specifically in regards to this new installation; to say Skyrush would offer anything close to the experience of a floater-based B&M hyper is absurd. Skyrush has one massive drop and then hugs the ground for quick bursts of ejector air (straight into the thighcrushers, of course). The new ride appears to be a much more relaxing and sweeping experience. I'd actually offer that Storm Runner is probably closer in spirit to Skyrush than this new coaster will be. Wildcat and Lightning Racer are also nothing alike beyond style and manufacturer and, if anything, provide a nice little lesson into GCI's development as a company. They have two Wild Mouses, which is dumb, but nothing else beyond that in the park is even in the same genre.

October 5, 2018 at 7:20 AM

I did mention Storm Runner, and noted that after the launch and top hot, it is very much like Fahrenheit, though the inversions are far more unorthodox and the layout more original than the generic course of Fahrenheit. The 2 coasters do offer a somewhat different experience, but after the launch/vertical lift, are both essentially Intamin sit-down loopers with OTSRs.

I do think the B&M will offer a slightly different experience from Skyrush, but the trend in B&M hypers/gigas recently is to decrease the amount of floating air and increase the ejector air (see Mako, and Fury 325). Obviously, we have no idea what the course for the new coaster will be (the pre-vis only really shows the end of the layout), but does Hersheypark really need this when it has a lot of other holes in its coaster lineup? That's really my point here - There are a lot of coaster styles that are not represented in a park that will have 14 of them. With one of the best B&M hypers about 2 hours away (Nitro), and Hersheypark's propensity to build mediocre/average versions of each coaster type, I think they would have been better served building something completely different from what they already have.

Perhaps because this new coaster is being built on virgin land, Hersheypark will finally have the opportunity to show what it can do instead of hemming themselves in with limited footprints, but I can only go off of what they've done so far, and am skeptical that this new coaster will move the needle or differentiate Hersheypark from other superior coaster parks nearby.

October 8, 2018 at 10:04 PM

The way I see it Hershey wanted a major new marquee ride that is going to make a statement when people are walking up to the park: "welcome to Hershey - we got chocolate also btw we got some big f*cking rides" and be in the marketing materials etc. Even with a hyper I can definitely see why they are going with a B&M hyper because unlike the one they currently have its reliable, high capacity, and comfortable. Skyrush is still a pretty good ride but the way it looks and its capacity isn't really setup for what they want this ride to be.

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